Ah, breakup songs. They’re so often set on infinite repeat in our souls. So you oughta know: are they unhealthy in their forwarding of a pro-wallow agenda?
Not necessarily so, says Thao Nguyen — she of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (a personal fave band o’mine, although better known for the sort of “something with shouting and hand claps in the chorus” songs which Nguyen identifies here as totally not breakup-friendly). In this nice commentary in Bitch Magazine, Nguyen celebrates the therapeutic salve of a deeply felt, fully embraced breakup song. And she’s got an I’m-OK-you’re-OK take on the importance of the dirge for the recently dumped:
“It is the sauna where all your emotions gather after work and sit and talk shit or breathe deeply and with each action make themselves hotter and sweatier until there is such frenzied perspiration you are crying on the outside, probably alone in your car. The breakup song serves a very specific role in the triage of heartbreak. I’m not saying it’s healthy to delve and wallow — but I am saying everyone I know does it, so let us honor the sad, slow breakup song for the fucked-up and necessary friend it is.”
Breakup bonus: Included at essay’s end is Nguyen’s personally curated track list for the all-time heartbreak catalog. Comment or add your own here!